June 18, 2020

Seam - Headsparks (1991) ☠

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Alternative Rock, Noise Pop
.FLAC via Mega (Link)
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☠: Selected by Lass
© 1991 Homestead Records
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett
Bitch Magnet started getting a fair buzz of attention right when they fell apart, so it's little surprise that Sooyoung Park's next band, Seam (which also initially included Bitch Magnet's bassist, Lexi Mitchell), would benefit in part from that -- as well as the appearance of Superchunk's Mac McCaughan, proving himself to be a very good drummer on this album as well as two preceding singles. The just over half-an-hour-long Headsparks, literally recorded the month before Rock Changed Forever ('90s Style) with the release of "Smells Like Teen Spirit," contains plenty of touches soon to become hyperfamiliar. There's hints of Pixies, the Louisville underground, the incipient Merge scene, and even a touch of Neil Young's storming melancholia, resulting in a blend that's at once powerful, heartfelt, and anthemic almost in spite of itself. Certainly that could describe the opening song alone -- "Decatur," kicking things off on an emotional (but happily not "emo" in any sense of the word) note. Park's singing throughout varies between the murky and somewhat more straightforward -- while not sounding anywhere like its various shoegaze contemporaries in the U.K., there's a similar use of voice-as-cryptic instrument, often sounding a little lost in the kick of the music. Combined with some of the arrangements, it almost obliquely suggests a parallel to the Wedding Present -- the alternation between gentle chime and pepped-up crunch on "Pins and Needles" really suggests Dave Gedge's crew circa 1990 -- but the sentiments of wounded feeling, vocally and musically, have a wistful catch all their own. Highlights in that vein include "Sky City" and the epic collapse of "Feather," both of which do a fantastic job in showing the strength of Park's guitar playing as well. Two guest performers -- Velocity Girl's Sarah Shannon singing lead on "Shame" and Erectus Monotone's Jennifer Walker handling backup on "New Year's" -- add an enjoyable touch of further variety to an excellent album

tags: seam, headsparks, head sparks, 1991, flac,


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